Finalists: Fiction Picture Books

Nominations: 111. Finalists: 5. Phew. Many thanks to the fiction picture book panelists who winnowed the looooong list:

Emily’s Balloon
Written and illustrated by Komako Sakai
Chronicle Books
A bittersweet glimpse into the mind of a toddler who has befriended a yellow balloon.

Learning to Fly
Written and illustrated by Sebastian Meschenmoser
A simple book with an important message, this is the story of a penguin who wants to fly and his friend who helps him. The humorous illustrations add to this message about dreams and friendship.

Scaredy Squirrel
Melanie Watt
Kids Can Press
An anxious squirrel, who is most comfortable staying in his familiar surroundings and sticking to his rigid daily schedule, is surprised when the unexpected occurs. The illustrations and the text features add to the humor.

Waiting for Gregory
Written by Kimberly Willis Holt; illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska
Henry Holt and Co.
A young girl, living in the whimsical, imaginative world that only Gabi Swiatkowska can create, anticipates with great excitement the birth of her cousin, only to grow increasingly confused by her family’s peculiar responses to her questions about exactly how and when the baby will arrive.

Written and illustrated by Emily Gravett
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
a clever book-within-a-book that uses expressive collage and mixed media to tell the tale of a curious rabbit who finds real-life adventure in addition to the information he expects when he checks out a library book about wolves.